Henley’s newest visitor attraction, an adventure golf course celebrating the cultural and sporting heritage of the town, opened on Friday 15 April.
The course consists of a series of themed props including sculptures of the Town Hall, Temple Island, Friar Park, Henley Bridge and a mini river Thames. The course also features the coxless pair that Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent trained in plus a mini Marsh Lock, a kiosk and CCTV.
The course is located on the footprint of the old putting green at Mill Meadows between the pavilion, adventure playground and the bowls club.
The idea of transforming the site into an adventure golf course was first considered by the Recreation & Amenities Committee in January 2020, following a suggestion from two local residents.
Following a public consultation in summer 2021, Henley Town Council increased the scheme’s provision of perennial, seasonal and wildflower planting. This will significantly improve the biodiversity of the site.
The construction phase of the project, which took around 5 months, was completed by Greenspan, who have built similar courses in Herefordshire, Weymouth and Devon, Llwyngwair Manor in Wales, Fontygary in South Glamorgan, Fylde and Weymouth Bay.
The project cost around £270k and was delivered on time and within budget.
The attraction is expected to make a profit of around £60k a year, with a payback period of 4-5 years. Henley Town Council’s financial projections include a generous provision for maintenance and replanting. Funds raised from the project will support the council’s other services and reduce the burden on the local taxpayer.
Sheridan Jacklin-Edward, Town Clerk said: “We knew that the course would be financially viable, inventive, and fun, but it was also important that the project was executed well and in a way that complemented our town and addressed feedback about planting and biodiversity. Bringing a new visitor attraction to Henley is quite a responsibility. I am delighted with the results. This project has been a true labour of love and I hope that visitors and residents enjoy it!”
Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, Chair of the Putting Green Working Group said:
“I am thrilled with our new Adventure Golf Course. We have built something very special here. There’s a discounted rate for local residents, and plenty of interest to keep visitors coming back to play for many years to come. We’re showing off the best bits of our town, from our built heritage to our cultural and sporting history - in a light-hearted and engaging way. The course is Henley in miniature and the project is emblematic of our strengths as a council and a town. Local people know that we will take their suggestions, listen to their feedback, and deliver. Here we work at pace, with a sense of purpose and fun. The course demonstrates that in spades.”